by Peter Badham

Stitches over time

We don’t often seem to get material from Gloucester but the following is an early item found rather by chance. This first snippet is found amongst the papers belonging in the City records and is from a rent roll dating back to 1455.

In Latin, one of the items for Southgate Street reads:

Priorissa de Godestow tenet in feodi ii tenamenta in correrio orientli et australi de Smeth estret fere in decasu, eed Richardus Badam, taylour, manet in uno, et reddat inde per annum –.

Et contine[e]t in fronte – 

which is translated as:

The Prioress of Godstow holds in fee two tenements at the eastern and southern corner of Smith Street almost in decay, but Richard Badham, tailor, dwells in one and he renders therefore by year –.

And they contain in front – 

The blanks (–) are as in the transcript, presumably illegible in the original. We’re fortunate that the road layout in medieval Gloucester survives sufficiently to be able to identify where these two tenements were, marked in black on the accompanying map. You can just see the cathedral at the top. The plot, diagonally across Southgate Street, was part garden and contained a dovecot at the time of the rental. Godstow Priory or Nunnery is roughly 50 miles away near Oxford and was the burial place of the Fair Rosamund daughter of Sir Walter Clifford and loved mistress of King Henry ll. At least, it was until Henry died 15 years later and she was dug up because Bishop Hugh of Lincoln considered her a harlot.

This roll was transcribed and translated in 1890 by W H Stephenson although the original was completed by Robert Cole and was designed to record payments for landgavel or landgable. This was the rent paid by a tenant of an ancient borough also called Hawgable. Possibly Richard Badam was a freeman of the City if he was a full member of a Guild such as the Merchant Tailors. Interestingly, 350 years later on 11th February 1805 John Badham of the City, a tailor, appears on the Freedom rolls having been apprenticed to Paul Mutlow of the same, tailor. By 1843 we see John Henry Badham round the corner in Westgate, an accountant, being admitted as Freeman on the strength of his father, John Badham tailor, being free. There was a 1930s Badham and Cole partnership as coal merchants and various Badhams have been freemen of the City. Although 350 years of father to son tailors seems too much to believe, perhaps there was a continuous presence of the Cole and Badham families in Gloucester? It is interesting too that the transcriber renders Badam as Badham, presumably because the surname was known to him.

John Baddam to the Rescue

The second snippet is to be found in a delightful little booklet produced in 1977 as part of a local history class organised by the Extra-Mural Department of the University of Birmingham. It is entitled St. Martins Hereford 1560 – 1640: A portrait of a suburban parish, by David Whitehead and Anne Budd. There are several references to Badhams but the intriguing story includes John Baddam, the tiler.

It must have been galling to see the roof of your newly built closet (privy?) ripped off by parliamentary soldiers bent on besieging the City of Hereford during the Civil War. I suppose for the soldiers it offered cover and, maybe, private facilities! Joyce Jefferies, however, records in her account book paying 4d to “John Baddam for mending ye tile over my new closet wch Sr Wllm Waller’s sowldiers brake down to shote at Widmarsh Gate when he besieged ye citty of hereford.” This entry is for 25th April 1643 and the parliamentary army took over the City but later simply walked out. More can be found about Joyce Jefferies in Webb, P, Some passages in the life and character of a Lady resident in Herefordshire, Archaeologia - 1856 xxxvii 207. John appears to have been part of an established family in the parish of St. Martin. Although part of the ancient City, this parish is south of the river just over the old Wye bridge. Widemarsh Gate, however, was on the north side of the City so that Joyce Jefferies’ closet was clearly outside the City walls. The authors of the booklet consider that Ann Baddam was a relation of this family and she was brought before the Justices of the Peace in 1616 “to answer … misdemeanours and contempts.” In 1624 she was had up for selling ale and beer without a licence and in the same year her tax bill was the “quite reasonable” sum of 12d?

Finding these references is a reminder that the earlier parish records for the City have, only in part, found their way onto our database, so anyone who feels like a trip to the local Mormon library, get in touch!